FORMER Widnes hooker Liam Hood has re-joined Leigh Centurions.

Hood, 27, scored 26 tries in 65 games for the Centurions between 2016 and 2018 before leaving at the end of last season.

Leigh Centurions Head Coach John Duffy said: "I've known Liam a long time. I coached him with Scotland and in a short spell at Swinton and he was sensational.

"Liam's played his heart out for Leigh in the past and was highly popular with the supporters who will be delighted to see him return.

"Liam will add quality to the squad which is a bit thin at present and will get us around the field. He's a real quality player and person and I'm really looking forward to working with him again."

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: "John and the team have created a bit of desire in me with their efforts so far and given the fans are still turning out in force in support of the team it means our income will be above that projected against what we as a board set John for his playing budget.

"Rather than realise that at the end of the year I have agreed to underpin an addition to the budget for John to strengthen with immediately which is a clear indication that the more support we get the stronger we will be.

"I thought the number of fans that travelled to York was outstanding and despite the lads falling just short the fans remained very supportive of the effort the boys put in. Liam is a great player and a good bloke and has a very good relationship with me and really enjoyed his time at Leigh so it is a perfect fit for Liam and the club as he seeks part time rugby to enable him to embark on a new career outside of rugby .

"He is the first of at least three players that will be added to the squad in the coming weeks."

Liam Hood said: "I never wanted to leave Leigh in the first place but situations happened at the end of last year, so I'm absolutely buzzing to be coming back.

"I had three fantastic years at the club and I can't wait to run out again in front of the North Stand.

"Duffs is a real good friend and a great coach and it'll be great to play under him again. Hopefully we can crack on with this year and get into the play-offs.

"I've taken a really good job outside the game so I'm looking forward to different challenges in my life. I'll be playing rugby part-time and training at nights so it will be a new approach. But it's the next step of life and it's something I'm really looking forward to embracing.

"I love the people and the fans at Leigh and I'm really grateful to Derek and Duffs for giving me the opportunity to be a Leyther again."

Liam Hood came through the Leeds Rhinos academy ranks and made his senior debut for the Rhinos in 2012. He gained further Super League experience with Salford in 2015 and after making his Scotland debut in 2012 starred for them in the 2016 Four Nations series.

Early in his career he impressed in a dual registration spell with Dewsbury Rams in 2012 and with Hunslet in 2013 and 2014, starring in the Hawks' dramatic Championship One grand final success over Oldham in his second year at the club.

He joined Leigh from Swinton in March 2016 and made his debut against Halifax a few days later, earning Heritage Number #1410. He scored four tries in 19 games during the promotion season and five tries in 20 games in the Super League campaign of 2017. Last year he was again in outstanding form, scoring 17 tries in 26 games.